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With one player down, Austin FC can't fight off Sporting Kansas City in 2-1 loss

Jon Gallagher scored just seven minutes into his first start for Austin FC. (Major League Soccer/Twitter)

With his voice still hoarse from the night's loss, Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff looked haggard as he explained the series of events that led to a 2-1 loss to his former club, Sporting Kansas City.

Wolff said that Captain Alex Ring's red card in the second half cost the match as they struggled to keep together without the glue of the team in the final 25 minutes of play.


"It took red to change... the whole dynamic of the game," Wolff said.

For the first 66 minutes of play, the club held onto a 1-0 white-knuckle lead after Jon Gallagher scored his first goal for the Verde and Black seven minutes after his first start for the team.

Gallagher's start for Austin marked the first time a striker scored for the new team as he replaced Danny Hoesen as the club's starter.

Austin FC were the new kids on the block against establishment team Kansas City, but they managed to control the pace of the match for much of the first half.

Wolff said the club effectively found Kansas City's weak spots in the first half of play.

"It was really clear that it was working exactly how we planned on it," Wolff said. "And we gave them a lot of problems."

Gianluco Busio, Kansas City's 18-year-old midfielder, very nearly tied it up several times as longtime KC defender Graham Zusi fed balls up to goal, but Austin FC kept that clean sheet alive thanks to the efforts of goalkeeper Brad Stuver. Stuver saved the day with a two-handed block in the 32nd minute and kept it going as he ended the match with several saves to his credit.

Thanks partially to luck and partially to Kansas City's inability to finish, the Verde and Black went into the half with no goals given up. They seemed to find their tempo and were functioning like a well-oiled machine until the 67 minute, when Ring left the pitch with a deadly second yellow card. Ring, the glue of the club, would be out for the rest of the game.

Zusi, who was drafted with Austin FC's Matt Besler in 2009 and even lived in the Besler family home for their rookie season, consistently brought the ball up into threatening territory, and the left side suffered from a constant barrage of attacks at the hands of KC.

With ten men on the pitch, Wolff took the defensive route as he subbed in defender Julio Cascante for Gallagher. The move proved ineffective; Austin FC lost all offensive footing they had as they worked to keep Stuver protected at goal, but eventually the wall fell down as KC's Ilie Sanchez capitalized on the club's 11th corner kick to tie the match.

Just as regulation time ended, it was clearly Kansas City's match when the deciding goal flew past Stuver.

Ring's uncharacteristically reckless behavior and Wolff's decision to pump the brakes too soon ultimately cost Austin FC the match, and they fell to eighth in the Western Conference.

Wolff said the team hadn't trained to play with 10, but he didn't excuse the decisions that led to the loss.

"There's no excuses," Wolff said. "We haven't worked on playing with 10 men, we're in our infancy, and I'm sure going forward, we will."

Now, the club faces a new challenge heading into next week's match vs. LA Galaxy. Ring will still be out due to the two yellow cards, and the fledgling club will need to learn from a devastating half that saw the team's depth tested for the first time.

A new lineup may need to be drawn, but Wolff said the club will keep their characteristic intensity as they head to their fifth match on the road.

"We go on the road and we play the way we play, and we're going to try to push the tempo," Wolff said. "I don't think that's changing."

Popular

Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway